Cricket: Middlesex guided to top by Brown

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The Independent Online
Surrey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .332 and 225

Middlesex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .330 and 219-6

Middlesex win by four wickets

THERE are few more tenacious cricketers than Keith Brown. In the first innings his 80 had given Middlesex a slender lead over Surrey when they had looked bound to concede a sizeable one; in the second, his 79 not out took them to victory by four wickets. When he went in Middlesex were at 58 for 4, by the time he left, unbeaten, they were top of the Championship table.

Brown will be remembered for the character, rather than the style, of his batting. He has made the best of limited talent and showed just what application can do during the 500 minutes he occupied the crease during this match.

His main partner in Middlesex's second innings was John Emburey, with whom he had put on 94 in the first, and they added 99 in an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand. Emburey is another with admirable qualities of adhesion, and he has been a batsman who, at all levels through his long career, has needed blasting out.

They came together at 120 for 6 and without any fuss went methodically about the job of frustrating Surrey and steering Middlesex to victory. They placed and ran their singles well, bad balls were dispatched, good ones were blocked and there were a few delightful strokes besides.

In the final analysis, Surrey only have themselves to blame for they dropped Brown twice and Emburey once. When Brown was 11 he on-drove James Boiling and Martin Bicknell dropped the catch two handed at mid- on. Then at 43 he played forward and edged the third ball of a new spell from Waqar Younis throught Graham Thorpe's hands at first slip.

Emburey's moment of luck came just before tea when he was 21 and Middlesex 187 for 6. He played forward to the left-arm spin of Neil Kendrick and the ball flew off the edge past Thorpe's ear at silly point. Kendrick had looked the most dangerous of the spinners on the last day but rather suprisingly was given only 10 overs and there was something slightly unimaginative about Surrey's cricket overall.

Middlesex began the day at 29 for the loss of Desmond Haynes. The first to go in the morning was Mike Gatting, who waved furiously at one outside the off stump from Waqar and was caught behind. Then, in successive overs, Mike Roseberry drove over Waqar and John Carr played back to Joey Benjamin and was caught low down at first slp.

At 98, Mark Ramprakash drove Boiling to mid-on where Martin Bicknell held a catch similar to the one he had dropped off Brown. It was 120 when Mark Feltham was lbw pushing at Waqar from the crease but at this point Emburey dropped anchor with Brown and 35 overs later Emburey settled things with a hook off Benjamin which went to the pavilion rails for four.